Culinary Class: Building Skills and Gingerbread Houses


Jenifer Urzua, Reporter

Sahuaro High School offers lots of elective classes for students to choose from. Some may say Culinary is one of the favorites here – not only do you get to cook, but you get to eat as well – and we all know teenagers are pretty much always hungry. If you’re thinking of doing culinary…TAKE IT. The class, taught by  Ms. Thomas, even got into the holiday spirit by making gingerbread houses.

Culinary helps you build up strength and courage to make delicious food. 

Ayden Brule sophomore, says culinary helped him learn new recipes for his sister. “My mom is always working to provide for me and my siblings, learning how to cook and do my own thing really helps out my family. Not only is culinary a great experience, but it has changed my life.”

Ayden is now passionate about cooking; he cooks dinner for his family every Tuesday.

Sophomore Genevieve Garza on the other hand hated cooking but joining culinary changed that for her. “Culinary is a fun class to take.  You get to learn new things, make new friends, and most importantly learn about the real world.” She says learning how to cook helped her with not depending on someone to cook for her, as well as saving her money and not ordering food online. 

They both recommend this class to others. 

Making a ginger bread house is fun and easy. You can make them with your family and friends it’s a great way to get creative and make fun memories. In order to make a gingerbread house you must start with the ingredients.


For the gingerbread pieces:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • large eggs
  • 1 cup molasses

    For the icing:

    • 1 cup pasteurized egg whites (from a carton), or about 8 large whites
    • 3 pounds powdered sugar (about 12 cups)


    • Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or an electric hand mixer
    • Measuring cups and spoons
    • Paring knife
    • 3rimmed baking sheets
    • Pastry bags and tips
    • Parchment paper
    • 2 to 4cooling racks
    • Scissors
    • Small offset spatula
    • Pizza cutter or sharp knife
    • Rolling pin
    • Decorative cookie cutters such as mini gingerbread man, tree, or wreath
    • 10-inch cake plate, cake stand, or other platter for building the house.

Firstly whisk the dry ingredients together. Combine 6 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1 teaspoon baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Beat the wet ingredients together. Place 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 5 minutes. Add 3 large eggs and 1 cup dark molasses and beat on medium until homogeneous. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat in the flour mixture. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and mix until the dough begins to come together. (It will be crumbly.) Stop the mixer and knead the dough a few times by hand to bring the dough together completely. It should be smooth and firm, but pliable. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 3 pieces (about 17 ounces each). Gently press each into a flat rectangle about 1/2-inch thick.

Roll out the dough between parchment paper.Prepare 4 large sheets of parchment paper. Place 1 dough rectangle between 2 sheets of parchment. Roll the dough out into a rough 9×13-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet, then remove the top sheet of parchment. Repeat rolling out the remaining pieces, reusing the top sheet of parchment and stacking the sheets of dough on top of each other.

Chill the dough for 2 hours. Refrigerate the dough sheets for at least 2 hours. If you plan to cut and bake your dough out the following day, tightly wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap for longer storage.

Heat the oven and cut out the house pieces. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 300°F. Get out three baking sheets. Unstack the dough sheets and place on a work surface. Position all paper templates on the dough, placing them in whichever arrangement will produce the least waste. Use a paring knife to trace and cut out the pieces. Remove the excess dough around the piece. Carefully slide each parchment sheet with the cut pieces onto a baking sheet.

Add any decorative stamps to the dough. Before baking, you can add texture to your house by pressing shapes into the dough. for example, you can use a spoon to create a scalloped roof or use the edge of an off set spatula to make windows or doors on the front, back, and side pieces. A round cookie cutter can be used to stamp a wreath shape.

Bake 2 baking sheets at a time. Bake 2 sheets at a time until the edges of the pieces begin to brown, 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Repeat baking with the last two pieces. Slide the parchment and pieces onto the rack to continue cooling — this will take several hours — before decorating. While the dough pieces cool, reroll the dough scraps and make the icing.

Reroll dough scraps for decorations, if desired. If desired, reroll any doughs and cut out any gingerbread trees or people you’d like to add to your house. You can also cut out small squares to create a path, or make shutters or doors.

Make the icing and decorate the house pieces:

Make the icing. Place 1 cup egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium-high speed until formed 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, beat in 3 pounds powdered sugar a cup at a time until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form again, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Build decorate and enjoy!